You've got questions.
We've got solutions.


A BLOG FOR THOSE WITH VISION...


The Value of Multilingual Employees in the Workplace

With the ever-increasing globalization of the marketplace, having multilingual employees in your workplace can be of great benefit. According to recent Census reports, the population of non-English speakers in the United States has continued to rise over the past 20-30 years. Having one or multiple employees who speak a language other than English can give your business a definite edge in a competitive atmosphere.

Top Five benefits of hiring a multilingual employee:

  1. If you are looking to expand your business to a new market, a multilingual employee can be a great asset. Let’s say this client base does not speak English natively. They may feel more comfortable speaking to someone in their native tongue, trusting your company more, as a result, and increasing your chances of gaining them as a client.
  2. Building a multilingual customer service department means drawing in a customer base who feels confident in their ability to do business with you. They know that if they do have any questions or concerns, they will be able to address these things seamlessly in their native language. When customers feel comfortable, they are more likely to buy.
  3. Someone who has taken the time to learn another language has often learned about the cultures where the language is spoken in the process. When working with clients and customers from other places, understanding a few nuances about their culture and what may or may not be important to them can make a difference in how they perceive your brand.
  4. A professional translation agency is key to handling translation and interpreting services, since it already employs translators and interpreters with the proper experience, education and training for these skill sets. An employee who knows another language will likely be able to assist with smaller language-specific tasks, but it is dangerous to assume that he or she is as comfortable in writing as in speaking. The two skills are quite different, and when your brand is on the line, it’s vital to ensure a professional translation. In addition to speaking verbally with clients and customers as previously mentioned, if you receive an email or mail correspondence in another language and need a quick understanding of the gist of the message, or if you wish to set aside time for an employee to review translated content through the eyes of your customers, multilingual employees would be quite effective.
  5. The benefits are not simply linguistic in nature. Studies from the National Institutes of Health and Northwestern University have shown that individuals who speak multiple languages typically have a stronger ability for both multitasking and processing information more quickly and efficiently than monolingual individuals.

What has your experience been like with your multilingual employees? We would love to hear about benefits you’ve encountered that we may not have mentioned. Feel free to leave a comment below!

What If I Just Use the Google Translate Button on My Website?

It’s not uncommon to hear someone ask about using Google Translate (or another free machine translation tool) for their translation needs. Those in the language industry probably hear this question fairly often, especially since there is a Google Translate button on many websites, both personal and professional, prompting users to translate a website into the language of their choice with just the click of a button. Although those in the language industry will have immediate reservations about using free, automated machine translation professionally, it is not difficult to understand why many would feel this is a good option. After all, Google provides some amazing services, many of which are free. If you have grown to trust Google for these other services, it might stand to reason that you feel comfortable trusting Google for a free translation, as well. Trust us, we completely understand! However, your organization’s brand and your website’s accuracy may be at stake if you are relying on this method to translate content for your visitors.

The ability to correctly maintain both the meaning and the intended impression of your website’s subject is something, at least at this point in time, that can only be accomplished with professional human translators. These translators are able to dissect the content of the page, understand the intention of its message, and then convey that same message and intention in another language.

Automated machine translation such as Google Translate is unable to identify all of the nuances of a language, and often makes errors involving both the grammar and vocabulary of the target language. If you have ever used the Google Translate button to translate a non-English website into English, it was likely very obvious that the translation was automated and not done professionally by a native speaker. This type of translation does not capture the true original message, even if we can make out what the proper words should have been, some of the time.

If your organization values its branding and professionalism, it is important to have your website translated professionally. A professional translation agency will ensure that a native speaker of the target language who specializes in the subject matter translates your content. The translation will also be reviewed by a proofreader or editor to ensure the quality of the final product. This helps to maintain the professionalism your company conveys through its branding, and it can also keep your company out of legal trouble in certain cases, should your information be translated incorrectly. If you are a food vendor, for example, and your website mistranslates allergy warnings, this could have major legal ramifications for you if one of your customers falls ill.

Even if there are no legal implications, native speakers of a target language will know when a website has been translated through an automated system and may look to your competition for a company that will better communicate with them. After all, good communication is a form of good service.

The process of taking your message, breaking down its intended meaning in all places, understanding the nuances of your ideas and messages, and putting it all back together in another language is complex. Although we completely understand the appeal, we urge you not to rely on a seemingly free service to do this. Just as other aspects of your business are handled by their respective professionals, we recommend doing the same for your translations to help prevent potential mistranslations and bumps down the road.